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Population-level right-handedness for a coordinated bimanual task in naturalistic housed chimpanzees: replication and extension in 114 animals from Zambia and Spain

Authors

  • Miquel Llorente,

    Corresponding author
    1. Unitat de Recerca i Laboratori d'Etologia, Fundació Mona, Riudellots de la Selva, Girona, Spain
    2. Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Spain
    • Unitat de Recerca i Laboratori d'Etologia, Centre de Recuperació de Primats, Fundació Mona. Carretera de Cassà 1 km, 17457, Riudellots de la Selva, Girona, Spain
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  • David Riba,

    1. Unitat de Recerca i Laboratori d'Etologia, Fundació Mona, Riudellots de la Selva, Girona, Spain
    2. Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Spain
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  • Laia Palou,

    1. Departament de Metodologia de les Ciències del Comportament, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Lara Carrasco,

    1. Departament de Psiquiatria i Psicobiologia Clínica, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Marina Mosquera,

    1. Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Spain
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  • Montserrat Colell,

    1. Departament de Psiquiatria i Psicobiologia Clínica, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Olga Feliu

    1. Unitat de Recerca i Laboratori d'Etologia, Fundació Mona, Riudellots de la Selva, Girona, Spain
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Abstract

Recently, many studies have been conducted on manual laterality in chimpanzees. Nevertheless, whether nonhuman primates exhibit population-level handedness remains a topic of considerable debate. One of the behaviors studied has been bimanual coordinated actions. Although recent studies have highlighted that captive chimpanzees show handedness at population level for these tasks, some authors have questioned the validity and consistency of these results. The first reason has been the humanization of the samples. The second one has been that the results refer to animals in American biomedical centers and the studies were conducted by the same team [WD Hopkins et al.]. This article aims to assess the laterality in bimanual coordination (tube task) activities in animals housed in an intermediate environment (Chimfunshi, Zambia). This has been conducted by replicating previous studies on similar samples (Mona Foundation, Spain), and then by extending the results to chimpanzees housed in intermediate settings. Individuals were evaluated through four experimental sessions (tests). Results indicated that 86% of the Chimfunshi sample was lateralized (48% RH, 38% LH). Furthermore, the sample showed population-level right-handedness in the mean handedness index, in Test 1, Test 2, and the first half of the study (Test 1+2). Rearing experience did not have an influence on hand preference. Taken together, the two sample (intermediate settings: Chimfunshi and Mona) results indicate a clear right-handedness. In conclusion, this replication and extension shows that (1) the Mona and Chimfunshi chimpanzees are right-handed in certain conditions, (2) the results are consistent with those obtained by Hopkins in captive settings, (3) the humanization of the samples does not affect manual laterality, (4) females are right-handed at population-level, but not males, and (5) these results reinforce the fact that the complexity of the task plays a dominant role in the expression of hand laterality among chimpanzees. Am. J. Primatol. 73:281–290, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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